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Home Improvement: Hartley House to Stay Put

REORDER IN THE COURT Chelsea Park B-Ball is About to Get its ‘A’ Game Back

BY WINNIE McCROY Fearing their beloved Hartley House would be sold, Hell’s Kitchen residents were pleased to join elected officials on Sat., Sept. 22 to announce it has been taken off the market. Both the settlement house and its mission will be restored, with studio apartments created for at-risk seniors. “This is a good day,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in his remarks. “You know how important Hartley House has been for the past 121 years for Hell’s Kitchen… and I just really want to say how proud I am of this effort.” HARTLEY HOUSE continued on p. 4

Epic Opera for an Elevated Park BY MICHAEL ROCK If your early October travels fi nd you walking past the High Line, arguably Chelsea’s most notable — certainly noticable — attraction, you might hear perhaps one or two haunting melodies. The tunes are not the ghosts of the neighborhood ushering in the Halloween season, but rather a few of the 1,000 singers from around the city who have been cast to appear in the Oct. 3-8 debut performance of “The MileLong Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock.” Staged along the entire length

see page 2 Photo by Sam Bleiberg

OPERA continued on p. 6

Upgrades to Chelsea Park’s basketball court have locals hoping it will once again be a destination for competitive players.



Slam Dunk! Chelsea Park Basketball BY SAM BLEIBERG The storied basketball court at Chelsea Park (W. 27th to 28th Sts., Ninth to 10th Aves.) has fallen into disrepair. Nets are missing, and cracks in the pavement are more visible than the painted lines. After failing to take one of the winning spots in the most recent round of District 3’s Participatory Budgeting process, the prospects for improvement seemed dim. Now the court will benefit from a complete renovation, thanks to discretionary funding from City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s district office, which confirmed that the Participatory Budgeting proposal will receive $375,000 in funding to move forward. Matt Green, Deputy Chief of Staff for Johnson, told Chelsea Now that the office had been following the status of the project closely after it narrowly missed the funding through Participatory Budgeting twice, in the program’s first year and 2017. “We try to fund as many projects as possible,� Green said. “In order to have a cohesive, up-to-date park, it’s important for the basketball court to receive improvements.� Yuwnus Hughes helped propose the

Photos by Sam Bleiberg

The courts are not as crowded today as longtime residents remember them, but champions of the project anticipate the renovation will renew enthusiasm for basketball at the park.

The court used to attract crowds of spectators. The damaged benches will be replaced as part of the project.

and believes fixing the court will help reestablish the park as a destination for players and spectators of all ages Asked about the impact of improving the court, Hughes explained the benefit would be obvious: “Just look at it. If they fix up the court — oh, man! I think a new court will bring back some life.�

Longtime neighborhood residents like Hughes remember a time when Chelsea Park claimed a spot as a citywide destination for competitive basketball players. “People would come out to play against basketball players from Chelsea. It would be packed,� he said. “If the neighborhood tournament team played,

project and leads a local nonprofit called Infirnity that provides basketball coaching, mentorship, and education services to local children. Infirnity currently hosts an annual basketball tournament and outdoor training at the court. Hughes said the court’s declining condition has lessened the park’s appeal

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September 27, 2018

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Court Restoration is Fully Funded

Yuwnus Hughes and Will Wilson grew up in the Elliott-Chelsea Houses playing at the court they call “the back park.”

everyone from the neighborhood would be watching us. That’s how rich it was back then.” Will Wilson also grew up in Elliott Chelsea Houses, across the street from the court. He cited a high level of play that included reputed tournaments and former NBA players such as Smush Parker. Bleachers and a stoop for spectators surrounding the court heightened the competitive ambiance. “You don’t understand; there was a stadium type of effect,” Wilson recalled. “It would be awesome to have what we came from. This would be amazing for this neighborhood.” Improvements will include new backboards, rims, a refinished surface, repainting, and new benches. In addition to discretionary funds, the project will receive $200,000 as the result of an open space mitigation from a development on W. 29th St. and 11th Ave. During the 2017 Participatory Budgeting fair, one attendee brought up that the condition of the court contrasted with the new development just across the street. Green gave this open space mitigation as an example of private funding for the renovation of a public facility. “That’s how we’re getting some of that private investment in these public amenities,” he said. Phyllis Waisman, a member of the Parks and Environment Committee for District 3, noted that addressing the basketball court was a natural next step after previous projects for the handball court, playground, and soccer field. She visits the basketball court to play with her grandson. “There aren’t a lot of parks in Chelsea. Parks are popular with people. A project with parks wins [Participatory Budgeting] every year,” she said. City Media LLC

For Hughes, a new basketball court is an opportunity to foster community for local youth. He cites the court as a stomping ground for neighborhood residents of all ages, but especially for young adults from Elliott-Chelsea. The Chelsea Recreation Center down the street does offer discounted memberships for youth, but only several hours per week are dedicated to basketball in the gym. “Growing up, I just loved playing ball outside and being around my friends. And the park was one of the main ingredients we had,” he said. “If you played ball, you would know each other from the park. It was always broken up. But it was our park. This is Chelsea Park.” Karina, a young Chelsea resident who attended elementary school down the block from the court, says she plays there every time she visits her grandparents in the Elliott-Chelsea senior building across the street. Asked about the court’s condition, she welcomed the renovation. “I mean, it’s old and beat up. I am excited that it’s getting improved,” she said. “This is where I started playing. I used to play with the boys. It didn’t matter that I was a girl. Maybe more kids will start coming to this park.” Wilson expressed a gap between the basketball culture of his youth and the park’s state today, but added that enthusiasm for the game among young players in the neighborhood is on the rise. “We left the legacy, and they’re picking it up. It’s hard because they don’t have a great court. These kids are amazing, but they don’t have access to a gym,” he said. “Give us glass backboards and nets. How many more people would we have playing here?”

Photos by Sam Bleiberg

Phyllis Waisman supported the project as a member of the Parks and Environment committee for District 3.

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Home Sweet Home: Hartley House Endures by Helping Kids, Housing Seniors HARTLEY HOUSE continued from p. 1

After acknowledging Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Johnson said when Hartley House had problems, the community turned to Joe Restuccia at Clinton Housing and Ken Jockers at Hudson Guild. Since 1897, 413 W. 46th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) was a place to learn cooking, sewing, hygiene, and childcare. These days, Hartley House provides job skills, GED exam prep, and a Home Outreach Program for Elders. This spring, the board announced they’d sell Hartley House, with help from agency Denham Wolf. But Michelle Diaz’s Hell’s Kitchens Generations was loath to see it demolished for high-end condos. They held a March 3 candlelight vigil, asking City Hall for help. Johnson organized a March 15 meeting at Hudson Guild to try and preserve the beloved but beleaguered site. Restuccia urged Hartley House to explore alternatives like renting or selling to other community organizations. The board said infrastruc-

Photo by William Alatriste, NYC Council

Flanked by fellow electeds along with reps from Hudson Guild and Clinton Housing, Speaker Corey Johnson (on steps, center) announced a successful combined effort to save Hartley House from closure.

ture problems forced them to relocate, with afterschool programs and Bingo moved, and seniors’ case management done in-home. Hartley House decided they’d sell, telling electeds, “We’ll keep you updated, but we’re not changing course.” Asked to “not make any decisions until we have a chance to come up with another path,” the board agreed.

A $220,000 discretionary allocation by Johnson will keep Hartley House open. The board took the property off the market, entering a strategic partnership with Hudson Guild and Clinton Housing. The four-building campus requires a $1.8 million renovation. “These buildings are not being sold. They will stay in the community… and

we are going to work with Hartley House and the best affordable housing developer in Manhattan. I worked hand in glove with [other electeds] and the amazing Hell’s Kitchen Generations to come up with this solution,” said Johnson. “So I’m extraordinarily excited and happy… to stand here and celebrate something good in our community.” Restuccia said Hartley House signed an agreement with Clinton Housing regarding redevelopment and intra management, adding, “We are doing interim repairs to get the staff back in the building by the end of the year, [having] already worked with them on bids for roof replacement and a new boiler. The idea is to get interim rentals of space for community groups and arts organizations, to bring some income in.” “The rear carriage house building and gym will be used for children’s services, and housing will be created for at-risk seniors, with a preference for LGBT seniors,” said Restuccia. “We’ll keep a majority of the groundfloor for seniors’ social services, and there will be an elevator to make it ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] accessible. I can’t imagine doing



September 27, 2018

All events at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street

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a program for kids or seniors without an elevator.” Hartley House is finalizing an agreement with Hudson Guild to handle supervision, management and infrastructure on public funding. Said Jockers, “We are sibling organizations, and we’re so excited to help our sister make her way into the next century, into another 100 years of great service for this neighborhood.” Said Brewer, “I see other nonprofits who didn’t come together as Hartley House has. They sell to a condo and expect us to support them. Hell, no! You do that, you’re not getting another penny of government money… But they worked together in a huge special effort, and I hope other nonprofits look at this and say, ‘We need to do the same thing.’ ” “We knew we could run our afterschool program elsewhere… and our HOPE clients were seen offsite already,” explained Hartley House President Alex Truax. “We had to choose between serving the buildings and serving our clients. So we made the agonizing decision to sell. But then a miracle happened. Thanks to everyone gathered here, we were given the remarkable opportunity to learn for ourselves what we’d been trying to embody for our neighbors for the past century: No one

Photo by E.B. Gallardo

On Sept. 16, Hell’s Kitchen Generations gathered for what they believed would be one last dodgeball game at Hartley House.

stands alone.” In a Sept. 25 statement to Chelsea Now following Saturday’s announcement, Truax added, “We are thrilled that, with the help of our new partners, along with crucial support from the City Council and our local elected officials, we can continue to serve the most vulnerable members of the Hell’s Kitchen community for the next hundred years.” Noted Trustee Anne Flannery,

“There was no way I was going to let this house fall.” “It’s an example of what can happen when government, the community and nonprofits sit down together and creatively think of solutions,” said Johnson’s Chief of Staff, Erik Bottcher. “It’s worth pointing out where solutions were not found, like St. Vincent’s Hospital or Rivington House. They were real tragedies, but in this case, we prevented it.”

“It’s going to be a little different, but change is good,” Diaz said. “Last week, Bottcher let us in for one last dodgeball game, and I brought people active in letter writing and calling, people who hadn’t been there since they were children. We were all so happy to hear it’s staying. It just takes a couple of people to make a difference.” Noted Gottfried, “It’s a miracle, and Hell’s Kitchen is blessed to have so many miracle workers.” When Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4) learned Hartley House would close, they held a public hearing, then released an April 9 letter urging them to find an alternate solution. “Since then, MCB4 committed itself to working with Hartley House and Speaker Johnson’s Office to find a way for this important community resource to remain in the neighborhood,” said Chair Burt Lazarin. “MCB4 was confident that by working together we could arrive at a solution to ensure the survival of Hartley House as an organization and the West 46th Street buildings as a community asset. We are happy to see Hartley House will not only stay but evolve into a 21st century supportive housing and service provider.” “I guess you could say it takes a kitchen: Hell’s Kitchen,” said Hoylman. “Let’s stay another 121 years!”

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‘Mile-Long Opera’ to Go the Distance, All OPERA continued from p. 1

Photo by Liz Ligon

Having hosted everything from Halloween events to honey tastings, the High Line is poised to add (“Mile-Long”) opera.

of the elevated park, “The Mile-Long Opera” does not feel like a traditional opera. Rather, audiences may walk through the park, listening to different choirs as they sing vignettes chronicling how hundreds of New Yorkers from all walks of life feel when 7pm comes around. Their various perspectives are based on interviews with locals, conducted by the production crew. Architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro and composer David Lang conceived of “The Mile-Long Opera.” Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine, poets, are co-librettists. Elizabeth Diller, and Lynsey Peisinger directed it. Matthew Johnson, the opera’s assistant director, beamed as he told this publication about his latest and potentially most ambitious


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Along the High Line professional project. “I don’t think we’ve ever done anything of this scale. If we’ve ever done performance art, it’s always been in the context of a smaller venue,” he said. “We’ve certainly done public space projects like at the High Line and Lincoln Center... but this is the fi rst time we’ve combined [so many different artistic] disciplines.” Johnson further explained that the original plans for the opera’s orchestration were far different from how it turned out. “We started out with an idea of distributing the music along the length of the High Line from a central orchestra that would be piped through fiber optics... and fi xed down for different sites the audience could experience,” he explained. “At some point we moved away from that and decided the human voice responding and... working with the sounds of the city. There’s something about the frailty of the human voice that juxtaposes the din of the city that was really interesting to us, so we tried to move away from any amplified systems and really just used the ambient sounds we encountered along the atmospheres.” Donald Nally, the music director, agreed that the opera’s lack of an orchestra made it in some ways better than it would have been with one. “There is a particularly unexpected moment of intimacy that rings really true with me,” he said, adding, “Our singers are increasingly alone, the city sounds more present, the per-

sonalities somehow more isolated. Between that splash of sound and the alone-ness out by the highway, the observer encounters a little ‘forest’ of singers on apple boxes, nearly inaudible, repeating just the single sentence that has now become a refrain: ‘Parts of us erase.’ ” He asserted that what makes “The Mile-Long Opera” so great isn’t necessarily just its production values, but its impact on all who made it possible. “My favorite thing about the project is that we have met and have the opportunity to get to know and form a community with well over 1,000 people,” Nally said. “I feel like I know many of them as friends now, both production team members and all the singers, which seems ridiculous, but the piece is so intimate and fun and revealing that it just opens us all up and connects us.” Oct. 3-8, taking place over the entire length of the High Line (Gansevoort to W. 34th Sts., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Registration for this free event is closed. The standby line will open 30 minutes prior to the 7pm time slot on all performance dates for those who do not have tickets. Entrance is not guaranteed, and admission will be given on a first come, first served basis. Time slots don’t apply to the standby line. All ticket holder rules and procedures apply to those persons admitted via the standby line. For more info, visit milelongopera.com.

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On July 12, singers rehearsed as the sun began to set. City Media LLC

September 27, 2018



Courtesy of NYPD

Boy oh boy! A team effort (including no small contribution from the mother) made a real push to deliver on their labor of love.


OFFICERS AND OTHERS MAKE A SPECIAL DELIVERY A group of New York’s Finest (NYPD), Bravest (FDNY), and Best (EMT) upstaged the stork on Fri., Sept. 21 at 12:37 p.m., when they responded to a 911 call requesting assistance at The Westin New York at Times Square (270 W. 43rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Upon entering the hotel room in question, Police Officers Yan Poon, Zhan Ren, and Nicole Davis discovered

a 35-year-old in active labor. They immediately placed a call for EMTs, while Officer Poon encouraged the woman to push. She did so, and soon (after Officer Davis ensured the newborn was breathing correctly), Poon was presenting her with a baby boy. As for where Poon got those deft delivery skills, it must run in the family: Arriving at the scene alongside FDNY personnel, one of the responding EMTs turned out to be his brother — Yan Hao Poon — who took over health and welfare duties with fellow EMT Joseph Dinovelli-Lang. The duo prepared the newborn for transport to nearby Mt. Sinai West hospital, where the child was pronounced to be in stable condition — and, one could reasonably speculate, the mother (also doing well) was basking in the glow of birth while contemplating Westin Poon as a first and middle name.

CRIMINAL POSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: Smoking hot mess Pipe down, already! Officers arrested a 37-year-old man at 7:30 p.m. on Fri.,

Sept. 7, after having observed him with a glass pipe containing what appeared to be crack cocaine residue. An examination of the defendant revealed him to be in the possession of additional (alleged) crack, which was removed from a black pouch located around his waist. To make matters worse (much worse, in fact), the defendant was also found to be in possession of 14 debit cards that were, as one might suspect, not in his name. The not-so-smooth criminal was also caught with several stolen packages that turned out to have been removed from residential buildings in the area.

FRAUDULENT ACCOUNTING: He should have (subway) passed on the offer A 36-year-old Queens resident made a trip into the city to save some money — but it ended up costing him plenty. The dim dupe agreed to meet a man at 1:15 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 23, at the southwest corner of W. 34th St. and the Hudson River. That’s the way, way, out-of-theway place they agreed to a transaction: $200 for a MetroCard with two months’ worth of money on it. Once the seller had his bucks, the buyer discovered he was out of luck: The card only had enough funds for two measly subway rides — cursing the victim to enact the “walk of shame” for some time to come.

LOST PROPERTY: Out of ‘pocket’ A visitor from Germany will, hopefully, go back home with a bit of street smarts he picked up in Gotham: Don’t go dancing with your wallet in your back pocket. The 21-year-old was soaking up Chelsea’s nightlife scene, at Marquee (289 10th Ave., btw. W. 26th & 27th Sts.). Around 3 a.m. on Sat., Sept. 8, he went to get his wallet out of his back pocket and realized it was missing. The victim told police he did not recall being bumped or jostled (a common method of distraction used by pickpockets). Missing from the wallet: $250 cash, his ID, a debit Visa card, and a German debit card. Fortunately, there were no unauthorized transactions on the Visa card. That was a lucky break. As for the German debit doohickey, even the most seasoned thief won’t have any luck unless he follows the victim home: That card cannot be used in the good old USA.


September 27, 2018

Community Council Consolidates Normally held at 7 p.m. on the last Wed. of the month, the 10th Precinct Community Council will combine this and next month’s meetings into a single gathering, taking place at 7 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 10, at the 10th Precinct (230 W. 20th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Hear the latest crime statistics for Chelsea, get tips on preventing things like identity theft, and voice your concerns about everything from quality of life issues to personal safety. For more info, call the Community Affairs Office: 212741-8226.

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Capt. Kevin Coleman. Main number: 212-7418211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council normally meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct. Their Sept. and Oct. installments have been consolidated into an Oct. 10 meeting. MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-2399846. Crime Prevention: 212-2399846. Domestic Violence: 212-2399863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). For more info, visit midtownsouthcc.org. THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Commanding Officer: Deputy Inspector Steven M. Hellman. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-4777427. Crime Prevention: 212-4777427. Domestic Violence: 212-4773863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the 13th Precinct.

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“More Parks Sausages Mom!” “Please!” by Maurice W. Dorsey More than his ad, Henry G. Parks, Jr. was a man before his time. Pioneering in the American free enterprise system he embarked on a journey leading to a multi-million dollar industry. After many endeavors in business, The H.G. Parks, Inc. trading as Parks Sausage became a reality in 1951. With strong aggressive leadership, brilliant marketing and advertising, Mr. Parks build a business that never posted a losing year under his ownership. Park’s Sausage was the first African American owned business to issue stock publicly. Mr. Park’s success caught the attention of some of the leading corporate boards in this country along with national organizations, city, state, and federal leaders. They sought to bring him aboard to share his knowledge, leadership skills, and ability with other leading American business, government and non-profit leaders. This is the story of a businessman who was African American and was optimistic and determined while achieving ultimate success. Available on Xlibris.com or Amazon.com

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Maurice W. Dorsey Maurice W. Dorsey

September 27, 2018


A Thing of Shreds and Patches Opens NY Quadrille John Jasperse celebrates ‘the wreckage of culture and history’

Photo by Alon Koppel Photography

L to R: DeAngelo Blanchard, Antonio Ramos, and Mina Nishimura in Kota Yamazaki’s translucent costumes.

BY ELIZABETH ZIMMER First The Joyce Theater’s carpenters reconfigured the auditorium, so all the spectators sit up close, on four sides of a newly built stage. Then choreographer Lar Lubovitch programmed a season of new work by some of Downtown’s most compelling dance artists, starting with John Jasperse Projects presenting his new “Hinterland” (through Sept. 28), to a commissioned score by Hahn Rowe.


September 27, 2018

Jasperse, a 1985 Sarah Lawrence College grad who’s been making gripping pieces for a generation and now directs the Bronxville school’s dance program, conjures a strange, diverse community out of some flower-printed fabric and five humans, himself included. On the white platform stage, crisscrossed with painted pink lines, an invisible figure (Mina Nishimura) hunches under a pile of flowered pads. A mountainous black

man (DeAngelo Blanchard) and the tiny Japanese Nishimura tumble and play like a favorite uncle with a seven-yearold. A bearded, grizzled guy (Antonio Ramos) binds the pads to his legs with pink tape. A mysterious figure in a fullbody white unitard painted with the same flower design (Eleanor Hullihan) lurks around the edges of the platform. Is this all a poetic rendering of the city’s street life?

Jasperse has long delineated apocalyptic visions in his dances, and sticky tape, here deployed both functionally and decoratively, has often been part of them. Here, Hahn Rowe augments recorded percussion with live guitarstrumming; the soundscape ranges from raucous, dissonant, even farty sounds to peaceful melodies to silence. QUADRILLE continued on p. 11 City Media LLC

Dance On Deck Judson at MoMa among the highlights BY ELIZABETH ZIMMER NY CITY CENTER’S FALL FOR DANCE FESTIVAL | Celebrating 15 years of presenting huge buffets of diverse, blue-chip dance at insanely low prices, this showcase offers five bills of four works for two performances each, including commissioned world premieres by Gemma Bond, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Justin Peck, Sonya Tayeh, Caleb Teicher, and Jennifer Weber. Also in the lineup are dances by Lucinda Childs, Frederick Ashton, Rennie Harris, Paul Taylor (whose majestic “Promethean Fire,” on the second program, commemorates his death last month), Pam Tanowitz, Michelle Manzanales, Junior Cervila & Guadalupe Garcia, Marco Goecke, Marianela Boán, and Talley Beatty. Oct. 1-13 at New York City Center (131 W. 55th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves). For tickets ($15), call 212-581-1212 or visit nycitycenter.org. ANNE TERESA DE KEERSMAEKER | Another musical masterwork gets the contemporary dance treatment as this brilliant Belgian choreographer mobilizes 16 members of her troupe, Rosas, to perform to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Played live by the baroque ensemble B’Rock, under the baton of French violinist Amandine Beyer, this promises to be one of the most compelling performances of the season. Oct. 1-7 at the Wade Thompson Drill Hall, Thompson Arts Center Park Avenue Armory, (643 Park Ave. at E. 67th St.). For tickets ($45-$95), call 212-933-5812 or visit armoryonpark.org. JUDSON DANCE THEATER: THE WORK IS NEVER DONE | It’s a truism among a certain cohort of baby boomers that “If you can remember the ’60s you weren’t there.” But a group of visual and performing artists, mostly a decade older than the leading-edge boomers, began to hit their stride in the early ’60s, meeting in the basement of Greenwich Village’s Judson Memorial Church in a series of workshops led by pianist Robert Ellis Dunn, who was in turn influenced by the ideas of John Cage and Merce Cunningham. These artists include Yvonne Rainer, the late Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton and others, who have, each in their own ways, built remarkable international reputations. Some of them, like Simone Forti, actually started their experiments on the West Coast with Anna Halprin in the late ’50s; many went on to form the Grand Union, an improvisational ensemble, in the 1970s. Not only

QUADRILLE continued from p. 10

The movement evolves from rolling on the floor to unison adagio sections, the clothing (by Kota Yamazaki) from ragtag to a uniform, translucent blue. Lighting designer Joe Lavasseur gradually darkens the space as the performers line up on each edge of the platform and stare at us. They kneel. The skinny City Media LLC

Photo by Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor Dance Company (seen here performing “Black Tuesday”) is part of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival.

Photo by Anne Van Aerschot

Members of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s troupe rehearse her new piece, “The Six Brandenburg Concertos.”

do they remember the ’60s, they’ve built brilliant and thoughtful careers on the work they did then, pioneering diverse genres of performance. The Museum of Modern Art is presenting a major exhibition focusing on their influence that fills several of its second-floor galleries with films, photos,

Jasperse rolls around with the immense Blanchard, each lying atop the other. They all finally bow, releasing us from their ominous beauty. Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M follows Jasperse into the Joyce, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, showing “Dearest Home,” which explores love, longing, and loss. (This protean young choreographer also had a world premiere Sept. 27 at New York

posters, and sculptural objects. (I sat down on what looked like a plain pine bench and was told by a guard to get up; it was a prop for someone’s dance.) The Museum is collaborating with Danspace Project, another historic Downtown arts group, to reproduce the work of Simone Forti in the galleries three times every Tues., Thurs., and Sat. through Jan. 2019. In addition, there are series of performances, live and on film, by these artists. Through Oct. 6, you can see the work of Deborah Hay, and upcoming are programs by David Gordon (Oct. 18-20), Lucinda Childs (Oct. 29-Nov. 4), Steve Paxton (Nov. 19-Dec. 13) and Trisha Brown (Dec. 17-Jan. 16), included with museum admission. For those who can remember, the exhibition is a feast of nostalgia; for younger viewers, it’s a revelation. Through Feb. 3, 2019. For info visit MoMA.org (11 W. 53rd St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.).

City Ballet, opening as part of their fall gala and also playing Sept. 28 and Oct. 4 & 6; for more info visit nycballet.com). Then Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Cunningham alums, do a new work exploring paths to a utopia (Oct. 2, 3, 6), and Beth Gill makes her Joyce debut with a surreal piece set in a dreamlike space (Oct. 4, 5, 7). The season-in-the-square winds up

with the Donna Uchizono Company, offering a world premiere tailored to the space’s four perspectives (Oct. 10-13). At The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave., at W. 19th St.). Through Oct. 13. Tickets are $35. Call 212-242-0800 or visit joyce.org, where you will find info on specific performance times, dates, and featured artists. September 27, 2018


Mixing, Mingling, and Cinema Magic 56th New York Film Festival beckons BY RANIA RICHARDSON Does your idea of going to the movies involve lounging in pajamas? Even if you’re accustomed to seeing the latest offerings from the comforts of home, there are plenty of reasons to get off the couch and attend the city’s quintessential cinema event. The 56th New York Film Festival (NYFF) kicks off on Sept. 28 with “The Favourite” by eccentric filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. The closing night’s fi lm, Oct. 14’s “At Eternity’s Gate” by Julian Schnabel, and centerpiece selection, “Roma” by Alfonso Cuarón, will share the spotlight with new work by the Coen brothers, Barry Jenkins, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Godard, Jia Zhangke, and more. Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC; fi lmlinc.org), the NYFF offers a highly curated selection of films and programs that mark the best in world cinema. Over the course of this 17-day event, moviegoers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a lineup that includes documentaries, shorts, virtual reality, experimental work, revivals, and director discussions. Alice Tully Hall and neighboring Lincoln Center theaters will be a hive of excitement for those catching up with their favorite auteurs and embracing new talent at the must-attend gathering of cineastes who readily share comments and opinions. You can’t get this kind of camaraderie on your sofa, and the big screen viewing experience could not be better. Sharp images in vivid color, in ideal size and ratio, create an optimal environment to appreciate the art. This year’s main slate is comprised of 30 films from 22 countries. Unfortunately, there are no world premiere titles. A selection committee that includes NYFF director Kent Jones and FSLC programmers Dennis Lim and Florence Almozini culled many of the selections from international festivals, from Cannes to Sundance. Described as “zany,” “The Favourite” continues a streak of quirky dark comedies by Lanthimos, whose “Dogtooth” ushered in a movement known as the “Greek weird wave.” Set in the royal court of 18th century England among feuding aristocrats, the new English-


September 27, 2018

Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos

Emma Stone in NYFF’s opening night selection, “The Favourite.”

Photo by Dominga Sotomayor

“Too Late to Die Young” is Dominga Sotomayor’s semi-biographical film, set in a rural Chilean community in 1990.

language feature focuses on its female characters. “At Eternity’s Gate” continues artist Schnabel’s interest in filming the lives of creatives that started with “Basquiat” in 1996. Here, he explores the last days of Vincent van Gogh, with Willem Dafoe playing the painter. “Roma,” a semi-biographical film, chronicles a year in the life of a Mexican upper middle class family in the 1970s, with a focus on the family’s

indigenous nanny. Director Cuarón will participate in a conversation to discuss his career, including the erotic road movie, “Y Tu Mamá También” that was a hit at the 2001 NYFF. “Too Late to Die Young” is another semi-biographical film, this time set in a rural Chilean community in 1990. Filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor is one of only four female filmmakers in the main slate, along with Tamara Jenkins who follows a middle-aged couple in

their attempt to have a child in “Private Life,” Claire Denis with sci-fi “High Life,” and Alice Rohrwacher with magic-realist “Happy as Lazzaro.” Sotomayor and Jenkins are making their NYFF debut, a group that comprises one third of the lineup, including actor Paul Dano, with “Wildlife,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan struggling in 1960s Montana. To expand the community for the NYFF, “If Beale Street Could Talk” the follow-up film to Barry Jenkins’ Oscarwinning “Moonlight,” will open at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem. Adapted from James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name, the Harlembased tale follows a pregnant woman scrambling to prove that her fiancé is innocent of a crime he did not commit. “Can we call it the most important fi lm festival in the country?” asked independent distributor Ryan Krivoshey, in a statement for this newspaper. “I think that’s a fair assessment. No other festival accords the same kind of recognition and awareness.” The veteran fi lm executive’s three-year-old outfit, Grasshopper Film, has a noteworthy number of City Media LLC

titles in the lineup for a new distribution company: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s enigmatic romance, “Asako I & II” and Ulrich Köhler’s dystopian “In My Room,” in the main slate, as well as two documentary features. There will be a retrospective tribute to renowned art-film exhibitor and distributor Dan Talbot, who ran the now-shuttered Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. Heralding one of the most influential figures in the world for foreign and American independent film, the NYFF will screen beloved classics that “carry the DNA of Talbot’s sensibility” according to Jones, such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “The Marriage of Maria Braun” and Louis Malle’s “My Dinner with Andre.” Talbot died in December at the age of 91. As usual, the NYFF has cherrypicked titles from the most important film festival in the world, Cannes, including the winner of the Palm d’Or, “Shoplifters,” about an impoverished family in Tokyo, by Hirokazu Koreeda. Earlier this year, Netfl ix withdrew its titles from Cannes after the festival imposed a rule that bans films without theatrical distribution from its competitions. The NYFF, which is a noncompetitive festival, embraces quality film from all sources, including the

(c) 2018 Netemo Sametemo Film Partners Comme Des Cinemas

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s enigmatic romance, “Asako I & II.”

Courtesy of Sphinx Productions

Ron Mann’s “Carmine Street Guitars” follows Rick Kelly (left) as he builds new instruments out of discarded timber. At right, Cindy Hulej.

powerhouse streaming company. “More and more people are watching movies at home, and they’re streaming them,” said Jones, in a statement to this publication. “For me and my colleagues, the filmmaker always comes first. When we invited ‘13th ’ as opening night in 2016, we weren’t thinking of it as a Netflix title first, but as an Ava DuVernay film. In this year’s lineup, the same goes for ‘Roma’ — it’s an Alfonso Cuarón film. ‘Happy as

Lazzaro’ — an Alice Rohrwacher film. ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’— a Joel and Ethan Coen film.” Netflix is supporting filmmakers “in their need to make the films they want to make in the way that they want to make them,” Jones said, emphasizing that artistry is not compromised, even if the ultimate destination is the small screen. Parallel to the main slate is a robust program of nonfiction films. Among the personalities portrayed are Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes, Kurt Waldheim, Bill Cunningham, and Maria Callas. In a local feature, Ron Mann’s “Carmine Street Guitars” follows Rick Kelly as he builds new instruments out of discarded timber from the likes of McSorley’s Old Ale House and the Chelsea Hotel. Special events include Orson Welles’ Netflix release, “The Other Side of the Wind,” a newly completed film that had been in limbo for decades. The story follows an aging Hollywood director, played by John Huston, in his attempt to pull off a comeback. “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead,” a companion documentary by Morgan Neville, details the making of “The Other Side of the Wind” in an account described as “even more epic” than its subject matter.

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Community Board Term Limits Proposal is an Accidental Gift to Developers BY MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT GALE BREWER There’s a reason lawmaking is compared — unflatteringly — to sausage factories. It’s not neat, it’s not quick, and if you do it out in public, it can kill a lot of people’s appetite for the final product. But rushing through new laws with short notice and inadequate public review, on an issue that isn’t a genuine emergency, isn’t the answer either. That’s not how we make good policy — it’s how government makes mistakes. That’s the story with the three ballot proposals coming out of the mayor’s Charter Revision Commission, and placed on the General Election ballot this November 6. Proposal #3 would institute term limits of eight years for all Community Board members, cutting our first line of defense for protecting our neighborhoods. Introduced midway through a Charter Revision Commission that was convened to focus on different subjects, this change

TALKING POINT to Community Board appointments would further empower developers, who already wield too many advantages in the city’s land use process (and developers aren’t term-limited!). Like a lot of wellintentioned ideas, it will have substantial unintended consequences. I should know; I served on my local community board for many years. When an issue reaches one of the city’s 59 allvolunteer boards (each with 50 members appointed to two-year terms by the Borough Presidents), the institutional memory of those members comes into play and helps them decide local issues large and small. In my Board experience on the West Side, we did our best to mitigate how Donald Trump could build over the West Side rail yards. During the development boom New York has experienced, the land use and zoning decisions boards make, and the scrutiny that boards can put development plans under, have all been critical in

shaping neighborhoods’ destinies. Major rezonings by the administration in East New York, East Harlem, and Inwood have all been examined — and improved — by Community Board membership. And that’s just Proposal #3 on the ballot; Proposal #2 creates something called a “Civic Engagement Commission,” with a majority of members appointed by the Mayor, that would supply urban planners and other support services to the Community Boards. But the Mayor already has control over the Department of City Planning; why should his appointees help select the Community Boards’ technical advisors for land use decisions, too? Borough Presidents already have responsibility for appointing a diverse, active membership to Community Boards and help inform and support their work — and Borough Presidents are termlimited. I’ve appointed more than 360 new members as Borough President — more than 60 percent of the 600 board

members in Manhattan. We conduct a rigorous interview process and assign an urban planner to cover each board and supply technical advice and counsel. The Boards could certainly use more permanent staff, but that can be accomplished by the city’s budget process. The 2018 Charter Revision Commission the Mayor proposed in February’s State of the City address was charged with changing the City Charter to “enhance voter participation and improve the electoral process.” In proposing to term-limit Community Board members and change their staff support, it has ranged a little far afield — and used “term limits” as a buzzword to help sell their brand of reform. The Commission’s Proposal #1, on campaign finance, has merit. But the other two proposals will make it harder for Community Boards to do their job as an early-warning system and an honest advocate for neighborhood residents — and thus will strengthen the hand of developers. On Proposals #2 and #3, I’m voting no.


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From Whence We Come by Maurice W. Dorsey A story about a gay African American man born to a Catholic father who accepts his son unconditionally and a Methodist mother who is homophobic-- tells her son throughout his life that she never wanted to have him. Seymour reflects on 3 generations of emotional insecurity and feelings of being unloved and unwanted. At the end of his mother’s life, Estelle, through her years of malcontent, has him come to terms with mother and family history. This book is fictitious but based on a true story. Available on Xlibris.com or Amazon.com

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Maurice W. Dorsey


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September 27, 2018



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